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02 February 2009 @ 09:19 pm
When talking about organic gardening, the question often comes up: "What do you do about bugs?" We also often hear "What can I use on the bugs that are attacking my plants?" but that is a very different question, one that indicates unfamiliarity with some precepts to organic gardening. What follows is a relatively short summary answer to the first question; my way of never having to ask the second.
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So, to recap: Healthy soil grows healthy plants, which are naturally pest-resistant; a healthy ecosystem contains a resident population of predatory insects that keep pest populations under control; crop rotation and companion planting keeps the plants ahead of the pests; row covers protect young plants; and a certain amount of damage is part of the deal.

I'm also fortunate to be gardening in a climate and location where many of the worst insect pests are absent. My approach might not work at all on the east coast, where Japanese beetles sound like a Biblical plague; or even in warmer parts of Calyfornyaa where daytime heat can stress plants and it's harder to maintain even moisture. This really is a Paradise for gardeners.

Questions, comments?
26 January 2009 @ 06:50 pm
Yesterday was the New Moon, said to be the best time to start the quick-germinating seeds. So I sowed:

Broccoli "Fiesta," "Nutri-Bud," and "Premium Crop"
Bok Choy "White Stem Pechay"
Cabbage "Shelta"
Chinese cabbage "Michihli"
Swiss Chard "Fordhook Giant" and "Rainbow" (?Bright Lights?)
Celery "Celebration" and "EA Special"
Leeks: "Bulgarian Giant," "The Lyon," "Sherwood"
Onions: "Hi-Ball," "Copra," and "Redwing"
Scallions: "Ishikura"

Chard might be better sown on the full moon - I will try to sow more of it around Feb 9 and see if it makes any difference.

The onions and leeks are all 2008 seed, except The Lyon which is left over from 2007. I'm trying those as an experiment to see if any are still viable. I have a packet of 2009 "Copra" seed as well, which will go directly in the ground once I get a patch prepped for it.

In other garden news: The warm spell earlier this month bolted all my Chinese cabbage, and some of my remaining turnips are now begining to bolt as well. Scallions are all going to seed. Brussels sprouts got ahead of me and I picked off 10 pounds to give away, which made several neighbors very happy. Fall-planted broccoli ("Fiesta") has headed up and we ate the first of it a couple days ago. Carrots and parsnips are still holding well, as is the chard and celery. Celery! Still amazed at finally getting it to grow well.

Hope for more rain, so there will be something to irrigate all these with in a few months!
22 December 2008 @ 01:26 pm
Hello fellow gardeners!

My partner and I would like to get a Bay Tree or shrub as an edible. (To use the bay leaves in cooking.)

Do you know anywhere that sells these?

Thank you!
20 August 2008 @ 09:11 am
We're always rolling in food in August, aren't we?
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I spared you the raspberries, peaches (in Albion! We're getting ripe peaches off the tree while listening to the foghorn!), pears (GREAT year for them), apples, hops, the summer-planted root crops, etc...
07 August 2008 @ 12:46 pm
What vegetables would you plant now, for a bay area fall/winter garden? As I harvest, I'm freeing up space that I'd love to use.
06 July 2008 @ 10:50 am
Copied from my personal LJ:

Garden update:

Volunteer sunflower (we think) is about four feet high.

I finally got impatient and picked the one carrot that actually grew -- it was too teeny to even eat. Oh, well. I'll have to tell the little boy who planted it that I messed up and picked it too soon.

The cauliflower is flowering -- it never made a head of cauliflower, but the flowers are beautiful.

There's a big, fat blossom on one of the zucchini plants, and tons of buds on all of them. I think zucchini will be successful.

There are 20 or so flowers on the tomato plant.

There are 20 or so strawberries, in varying stages of ripeness, and I finally harvested our first strawberry -- that is, the first one that didn't get eaten by slugs the second it started to turn red. It only took three years to get that one strawberry! :-)

Let's see, what else? Oh, yes, the bean plant looks like it's doing fine. I may plant a couple more hills of zucchini, though, if that's going to be the real thriver in this garden.

Oh! And the apple tree has hundreds of lovely apples on it. In a couple months, I'm thinking we'll have a lot of pie and strudel around here.
Current Location: 94609
14 June 2008 @ 03:24 pm
I've been noticing a tree flowering along the freeways in the South Bay for the last month or so. It's pretty tall and the flowers are orange and look fuzzy. Think bottle brush tree flower but orange and squashed. Anybody here know what they are? I really like them.
Current Mood: going to the airport soon
26 May 2008 @ 08:21 pm
In the ground today: Kentucky Wonder pole bean seeds. Already up from two weeks ago: Violet Podded Stringless and Gold of Bacau pole beans. Still waiting to be sown: 5 kinds of bush beans, and a Greek pole bean that was forced upon me at the seed exchange last Friday. Hope it's a warm summer!

Been a lot of gopher activity lately; caught 4 in the last few days, bringing my total to 10 so far this year.

Yesterday I sold favas, baby bok choy, Romaine lettuce, broccoli starts, and some rather pathetic turnips at the farmer's market, which was fun. (Note to self: Take more baby bok choy next time.) Need to put out beer traps for slugs - the lettuce is kind of nasty inside. And DE for the cucumber beetles.

We have a pair of quail visiting the front yard for bird seed two or three times a day. They are very cute, but tonight on their way home the female stopped to pick at the climbing sugar snap peas... grr! Sooner or later I'm going to have to build a BED (bird excluder device) of some kind over those peas. Keeping the sparrows off them last year was a chore.

Hope everyone's garden is coping with the wacky weather - unseasonable heat, then cold, wind, and now rain. Sure hope we don't get locusts!
24 May 2008 @ 08:17 am
Here in normally-placid coastal Mendocino, we are getting whipsawed by the weather. Was it just a week ago it was 90 in the shade, within sight of the ocean? Since then we've had fog, wind, cold, and more wind. Now it's raining, a fine soft cold drizzle like we'd expect in November or April.

Last week's heat made some of my brassicas bolt, and cooked one hop rhizome, but otherwise no damage. This week's cold winds appear to have stopped my pole beans in their tracks - hope they don't get stunted!

We're eating favas almost every day and not making a dent in the crop, so it looks like a bunch of those will go to the local farmer's market this Sunday. What's going from your garden to table?
21 May 2008 @ 02:09 pm
"One of the controversial aspects of the exhibition is guerrilla gardening using seed bombs. Tours of Manchester will be arranged where people will be dropping seed bombs around the city. "Is this illegal?" I ask. "Probably," replies Brydon."

I find myself not minding this idea. I've long wanted to have a pickup truck with a giant leaf-blower thing that blows the seeds of native and local wildflowers all over our roadsides.